For our holiday meals, I go all out on in both variety and number, when it comes to vegetable dishes -- and this year was no exception! I prepared my beloved, tried and true favorites... but also added some new and totally delicious fare to the mix.
I am sharing an amazing squash recipe here, which I call "Oven-Roasted Delicata with Pecans," along with a great recipe from my new friend Abby Kingston. Her "Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios and Pomegranate Seeds" makes a striking presentation, the ruby red seeds complimenting the green color of the little cabbage-like sprouts in a sweet and savory, mouth-watering vegetable entrￃﾩe that's sure to please. Of course, it's just not the holidays without the "greens" -- the leafy greens of course -- presented in my dear mother-in-law's delicious Fresh Kale & Cranberry Salad.
I enjoyed these dishes so much at Thanksgiving that I can't resist serving them again at Christmas -- and I always make my "Oh, So Happy Crisp" for dessert at our holiday meals. It's a delicious juice and brown rice sweetened version of the traditional apple-blueberry crisp that even my Dad, who is a dessert connoisseur, raves about! (The secret is in the freshness of the apples and blueberries, which I like to credit to our state's famous twosome.)
Enjoy these great, healthy dishes with the ones you love most this holiday season -- and make memorable traditions by serving "must-have, meatless menu items" like those below. (See part I of this two part series here.)
Oven-Roasted Delicata with Pecans
2 large delicate squashes, sliced into thin pieces
2-3 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
1-2 Tablespoon olive oil
2 Tablespoon tamari wheat-free soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup walnut or pecan halves
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Take the washed delicata squashes and cut it in half from top to bottom., scoop out seeds from each half with a spoon and slice into half-inch pieces. Spread the thinly sliced squash on a lightly greased (with olive oil) baking sheets and drizzle a couple of teaspoons of brown rice syrup over the pieces. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of tamari wheat-free soy sauce., the olive oil and sea salt. Top with chopped halved walnuts or pecans and bake for 30 minutes.
Abby Kingston's Pomegranate-Pistachio Brussels Sprouts
4-5 cups of Brussels Sprouts, cut in half from top to bottom
1 whole pomegranate, seeds removed
3 cups of shelled unsalted pistachios or 1 1/2 cups of de-shelled unsalted pistachios
1 Tablespoon olive oil
2-3 pinches of fine sea salt
5 turns of ground pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place Brussels Sprouts in a 13 x 9 inch baking pan, drizzle olive oil over the Brussels sprouts. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Place on top rack of the oven. Bake for 35 minutes.
Cut pomegranate in half. Remove seeds and place in a small bowl. De-shell pistachios. Place half in a blender and lightly grind for a few seconds.
Take Brussels Sprouts out of the oven and top with pomegranate seeds, ground and whole pistachios. Place back in the oven on the top rack for 10 minutes or when edges start to become slightly crispy.
Kale & Cranberry Salad
1 cup dried apple juice sweetened cranberries
8 cups chopped kale (10-12 leaves), spine removed, thinly sliced
Small bulb of fennel, cored and cut into small sections
1/2 cup thinly sliced red sweet pepper (or grated carrot)
Sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 cup walnuts, toasted & chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tab Dijon mustard
2 teas finely shredded lemon peel
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Combine all the ingredients in the first list, into a large salad bowl. In a separate small bowl, blend the dressing ingredients. Stir the dressing into the salad. This can be prepared the day before if needed.
Oh So Happy Crisp
6 apples 1-quart wild Maine blueberries
4 cups of apple juice
6 tablespoons arrowroot
2 teaspoons vanilla
pinch sea salt
2 cups brown rice flour
3/4 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice the apples and place them in a 9 x 12 inch baking dish with blueberries. Pour the apple juice into a medium saucepan. Dissolve the arrowroot in cold apple juice, then bring to a boil on medium-high heat and let simmer for 2-3 minutes. Turn off heat and add vanilla.
Dry roast the oats and brown rice flour mixture in a cast iron skillet on high heat, stirring constantly to prevent burning for 3-4 minutes or until golden brown.
Heat oil and syrup together and pour over the flour mixture. Add cinnamon, nuts and salt. Pour the apple juice mixture over the apples and blueberries. Cover with oat-topping mixture and bake, covered, for 30 minutes. Remove and bake for 10 more minutes.
Healthy Happy Holidays!
Do you have any plant-based holiday favorites? Please, share them here in my comments section!